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TrackingPoint: Does Technology Take the Sport Out of Shooting?

A "can't miss" long-range consumer rifle system hits the market. But why?

by
Bob Owens

Bio

June 9, 2013 - 12:00 am
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A $17,000 to $22,000 firearm that “can’t miss” and which has a cool technological edge is awesome — when someone else is footing the bill for you to fire it. The majority of people who consider themselves serious shooters, the kind who will sink thousands of dollars into a rifle, thousands more into a scope, and tens of thousands into ammunition and new barrels, enjoy the process of shooting.

Serious shooters are the heart and soul of America’s gun culture. They spend countless hours refining their skills and their own handloaded ammunition, they document every variable of every shot, and they enjoy learning every tic and nuance of their rifle, scope, and ammunition to the end of their system’s effective range in all sorts of conditions. They do this because in a very real sense they are craftsmen, honing a unique skill with a precision tool.

TrackingPoint is the auto-tuning of ballistic skill and craftsmanship: what is this product for, exactly?

It doesn’t carry with it the soul of the sport, and for that sin, it will inevitably fail among those who love and care about shooting.

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Bob Owens blogs at Bob-Owens.com.

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Top Rated Comments   
Long bow shooters gripe about compound bow shooters. Both complain about folks who would use a crossbow. Black powder hunters look down on those that shoot cartridge guns. Folks using iron sights disparage the scope users.
Does this new technology remove some of the human factor? Sure it does, just like every other advancement in weapon development. Folks looking for sport and challenge most likely won't use this sort of aid. Folks looking to fill the freezer with meat probably won't be able to afford it, at least not for now. And it's not at all likely to be allowed in serious competition as it does eliminate much of the human factor which after all is the whole point of competition.
At the present time this is pretty much a non issue. As the systems become more affordable a few folks will pay the price to be able to place every shot in the same hole at extreme range, but I doubt it will ever see common use any more than your average hunter carries a several thousand dollar gun and scope rig into the field to be scratched and beaten up.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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The word "sport" is bandied about far too much.

A shooting competition is a sport. Hunting is an activity.

Football is a sport. Golf is an activity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Seems to me that this could be of significant military value. Something to give the grunts to make them nearly as effective as snipers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This technology appears to take marksmanship to a new level, but all its practitioners won't be equal. It would be interesting to see an extreme range shooting contest between several PGF contestants. Such a contest would show just how good PGF is, or is not, and would sort out some of the variables involved.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I know this is not the point the author is actually trying to make but I'd really like someone to tell me how it is "sport" to shoot large animals from helicopters with AK-pattern weapons.

Years ago, I saw scenes of "sportsmen" in helicopters shooting at caribou in Alaska from helicopters with AKs. I have to say it didn't seem very sporting when the caribou can't run nearly as fast as a helicopter and have no defense aside from running. While the shooter could certainly miss, that was about the only chance the caribou had, unless perhaps the helicopter crashed or the shooter ran out of ammo.

Doesn't a sport require that the competitors have roughly equal chances of winning?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bob, if you don't like this tech take up the longbow.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Naw, that's not a can't-miss system. When you laser-designate a target and the rifle fires itself, THAT'S a can't-miss system. And I don't see why it can't be built for virtually the same price. We have auto-stabilization systems now in $99 digital cameras.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bob,

I respect the time and effort you put into making yourself an excellent marksman. I have friends who do not have the time, talent, or ability to match your skills. My own ability to hold point of aim has decreased with time and illness.

Suck it up. The folks who you want to hate for breezing in and pretending they are real riflemen will always be around and getting angry won't change them or make you a better person. Those of us who can't any more or never could, welcome the opportunity to have a weapon that will let us hit what we're aiming for a little longer.

It was my privilege and honor to meet Carlos Hathcock on a couple occasions. It bothers me more than a little that you would take a technology like this out of the hands of a man like that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bob, you need to get out more friend. Have you seen the auto aiming sentry that comes in a suit case size package? You tube search it. Yes, it is for paintball but it can be modified to suit your needs and does not need to be NFA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Long bow shooters gripe about compound bow shooters. Both complain about folks who would use a crossbow. Black powder hunters look down on those that shoot cartridge guns. Folks using iron sights disparage the scope users.
Does this new technology remove some of the human factor? Sure it does, just like every other advancement in weapon development. Folks looking for sport and challenge most likely won't use this sort of aid. Folks looking to fill the freezer with meat probably won't be able to afford it, at least not for now. And it's not at all likely to be allowed in serious competition as it does eliminate much of the human factor which after all is the whole point of competition.
At the present time this is pretty much a non issue. As the systems become more affordable a few folks will pay the price to be able to place every shot in the same hole at extreme range, but I doubt it will ever see common use any more than your average hunter carries a several thousand dollar gun and scope rig into the field to be scratched and beaten up.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You beat me to it. I personally still enjoy hunting rabbit with my sling shot and my dog.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Bob's favor, there are still a lot of bow hunters around, though the bows have undergone significant updates since Agincourt.

https://www.google.com/search?q=agincourt&rlz=1C1ARAB_enUS440US448&oq=againcourt&aqs=chrome.1.57j0l3.14947j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not to mention black powder shooters and hunters
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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